Published: September 21st 2006September 19th 2006
Broome. Broome. Ahh, beautiful Broome. Where do I start? We had 16 days here.
Actually I can start with just that - Broome Broome. There is a car rental business here with a very clever marketing person. They call the company Broome Broome Car Rentals! (say it fast) I loved it and so did everyone else it seems because they out-rented every other company by heaps.
One of the factors you have to get used to very quickly in Broome, is Broome time. Everything happens in its own good time here and there is no rushing anything. We periodically watched the gardener at the pub across the road as we walked to the beach. I swear it took him ½ day to mow a piece of grass half the size of a tennis court. He would do one stripe and then have a little rest, poor love. His next job was trimming the hedge framing the drive-thru - that took 3 days, on and off. The checkout staff are slower than a wet week and the queues just bank up behind them. There is no shortage of work here though, so waste of time for management to push them harder
Cocktail Hour on Cable Beach
What you can't see in this photo is Wes scoffing all the nibblies while I take the photo!
- any staff are better than none. We found a hairdresser who had only been here for a week, applied for 4 jobs and got accepted for 5!
When we checked into the caravan park we had a nice shady corner site, but it was pretty tight to get into. There was quite an audience watching from various vantage points and I’m sure they were thinking that “that young whippersnapper will never get that big van in there”. Wes did it with just two moves (with a little guidance from me) and just needed to push the dolly wheel over a bit when unhooked because there was a tree in the way. Some of these old hares were so impressed they raced over to give him a hand to move it.
The caravan park was just a short 10 minute stroll to the famous Cable Beach with its dazzling white sand and turquoise water, and we went for a walk every morning for an hour - stunning. The temperature was about 28 by 9.00am and usually got to 32ish with not a cloud in the sky. The northern half of the beach was our favourite because 4WD’s are
Gantheaume Point -Broome
This is not us jumping off - just some local boys.
allowed to drive on it (it goes for 22kms in total) - not to mention that the northern half was also the ‘clothing optional’ part of the beach. It was quite interesting passing naked people going for their morning walks as we were going for ours (with clothes on). It was about 50/50 naked to clothed beach goers.
One morning we rode our bikes along the beach, but we forgot to check the tides first and after going about 5km down the beach on the hard sand, a ‘king’ tide had come in and when we turned around there was no hard sand left - just very soft thick sand and so we had to push the bikes all the way back. About half way we were so hot and tired, that we just stripped off and went for a swim along with the other nudies. Very liberating. At this point I can hear Katie and Jordan going: “EEEWHH - too much information!”
Most days we visited the beach 3 times - once for a walk, later in the 4WD for swimming and sunbaking, and in the 4WD again in the afternoon for cocktail hour to watch the sunset.
Matso's Brewery -Wes Birthday
We are smiling despite our burned bits!
The sunsets were amazing here and sitting there on the beach with a beer and some nibblies was such a pleasure. Every afternoon there were 3-4 camel trains taking tourists up and down the beach at sunset.
On our first Saturday night, we went to Opera Under the Stars, which was really nice, but not as good as Opera in the Alps in Beechworth that we go to every year now. The Opera was part of the Shinju Matsuri Festival (Festival of the Pearl) which was on for two weeks. There is a big historical connection with the Japanese here due to the pearling industry. We went to the parade and food festival the next weekend too.
Our first Saturday here was also the maiden race for Wes’s racehorse (I bought him a 1/10 share for our anniversary 2 years ago). So we popped over to the pub after going to the markets in the morning, to put a bet on and watch the race on the big screen. We were very excited. His name is El Cazador, but he got a very bad start out of the gates. He did make up some ground after that, but
This was one view from the seaplane on the way back from the Horizontal Falls. There were hundreds of these islands. Beautiful.
still came 2nd last. The trainer was very pleased with him despite the bad start and said that he will have gained from the experience ready for his next start. He expected him to run last.
As it was Wes’s birthday while we were in Broome, we decided his birthday present would be an overnight trip to the Horizontal Falls up in the Buccaneer Archipelago - of course it would be no fun on his own (or would it??) so being a good wife I went with him for company. We flew by seaplane up over King Sound on Tuesday 28/8, landed in Talbot Bay and transferred to the big catamaran for drinks and dinner. There were only 2 other couples, plus a crew of 6 and we all got along well, so it was a good night. The next morning we went by Jet Boat to the falls and it was a thrilling ride. The Horizontal Falls are two small gaps in two parallel mountain ranges close to each other in the bay and because of the huge 11metre tides, the water has to force itself through the gaps on the incoming and outgoing tide which creates the
This was the falls No 2 that we didn't go through. You can see the wall of water behind the rapids. At the changing of the tides it is just flat water and there are no falls.
most amazing water turbulence. The water trying to get through is about 3 metres higher than the lower side. Its estimated that over 1,000,000 litres a second are flowing through the gaps. We went through the first gap and back 3 times and we went up to the gap in the second range, but the current is too strong to go through. They used to take the boats through, but after a few accidents, they’ve stopped. I have to say that after going through the first one, I was quite happy to look from a distance. The force of the water doesn’t really show up in the photos unfortunately. Then it was the return seaplane flight to Broome.
Another night we went on the Astro Gazing Tour which takes place in a paddock 10kms out of Broome at 8pm. The guy who runs it is an astronomer and has about 6 really powerful portable telescopes set up. He points out various star formations, gives a bit of astronomical information and finishes with a view of the moon - we could actually see the craters on it. Really worthwhile tour.
A tour to the Willie Creek Pearl Farm was
another pastime and we saw a demonstration of how the pearls are implanted and harvested in the biggest pearl shells in the world. They talked about the backpackers job of cleaning the pearl shells on the pearl farms for $150.00 per day, to how a good pearl seeder can earn $100,000 for a 6 month season. I should point out here that it seems I have been duped again - no pearl jewellery purchased whilst in Broome, although I did extract a promise - through feminine means - that when we sell the house, he will make good.
Stairway to the Moon occurs in Broome once a month and is caused by the rising full moon over the tidal mud flats on Roebuck Bay, which always occurs at low tide, and the reflection of the moon on the puddles in the tidal flats looks like a staircase. Unfortunately, the only night during the last 8 weeks that had light cloud was this night and so we only got a glimpse of the phenomenon. But we bought various yummies at the market stalls that accompany the night, so it wasn't wasted.
On our last Thursday night here I was
asked to attend an aboriginal art exhibition by my friend Terry, who has a gallery in Melbourne and wanted me to help broker a deal to get this exhibition to Melbourne. So we attended what was a fabulous exhibition of Wandjina art which has the most fascinating indigenous religious significance - more than any other in Australia. But even more exciting was the fact that we got to meet Malcolm Douglas who opened the exhibition - famous Australian documentary maker and crocodile handler - my mum loves him. It was just a few days after Steve Irwin died so he was pretty upset about it.
And lastly, what better way to celebrate Wes’s birthday than to head to the nudie beach for a swim in his birthday suit!! We decided to take a walk on the wild side and spent a few hours on the beach swimming and sunbaking this way. Unfortunately we overdid the sunbaking and got our bums very burned. Later that day we went out for dinner to a Brewery Restaurant and had to sit on cane chairs - afterwards our bums looked like raw steak when its first thrown onto a BBQ griddle!! Since then
Sunset Cable Beach
I know, I know - another sunset. Be warned there will be more.
they have peeled and returned to their previous virginal state - free of sun. This may well fall into the ‘too much information’ category for all of you, including Katie and Jordan- but you want to know what we’re up to, so there you have it.
Next blog: Broome to Port Hedland
There are more photos below